- ---- by Tom ConleyThe movement-image is the title of the first panel of a historical diptych, Cinema 1 and Cinema 2, that classifies modes of perception and production of film from its beginnings in 1895 up to 1985. In this work and its complement, The Time Image, Deleuze uses cinema to show how philosophy is not constrained to a canon or an academic world but to life at large. Cinema is a surface on which viewers reﬂect their thinking, and in itself it is a medium or a machine that thinks with autonomy with respect to its viewers and creators. The movement-image defines and describes the quality of cinematic images that prevail in the medium over its first fifty years. From 1895 to 1945 cinema became the seventh art by embodying images not in movement but as movement. Motion was at that time the essence of cinema. By way of Henri Bergson Deleuze shows that cinema does not furnish the spectator with 'an image to which it adds movement', but rather, 'it immediately gives us a movement-image' (D 1986: 2). A cut between two shots is part of the image, and thus a temporal gap that allows the eye to perceive an effect of movement. The latter is gained by a succession not of static photographic poses but of 'instants of any kind whatsoever' (D 1986: 7-8), that is, of instants equidistant from one another. The event of the moving image thus owes to a 'distribution of the points of a space or of the moments of an event,' a moment seen as a 'translation in space' (D 1986: 7-8). The two components of the movement-image are found in what happens between parts or objects, and in what expresses the duration of a whole or a sum, that which might be indeed the world in the field of the image.The cinema most characteristic of the movement-image is based on action and its intervals. It is seen in the comedies of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, to be sure, but also in the molecular agitation of wind, dust or smoke in the films of Louis Lumière.Movement-images tend to attach to the sensori-motor reﬂexes of the viewer who is drawn to them. The movement-image is made of moments in a given whole, such as a single shot or a plan-séquence, and it can be felt in the panoramic or tracking shots that confer motion upon the field of the image.At a crucial point in his treatment Deleuze delineates and redefines three kinds of movement-images that renew and energise the traditional lexicon of cinema. The 'action-image', generally a medium shot or a plan américain, organises and distributes movement in space and time. Characterised by a hold-up or a heist, it abounds in film noir. The 'perception-image', often a long shot and a long take, conveys a 'drama of the visible and invisible' within the staging of action. The spectator perceives the origins and limits of visibility in images that are common to the classical western. The 'affection-image' is best seen in close-ups in which faces tend to occupy the greater area of the screen. Each of these types of movement-image constitutes 'a point of view on the Whole of the film, a way of grasping this whole, which becomes affective in the close-up, active in the medium shot, and perceptive in the long shot' (D 1986: 70). Other types of images that he takes up - the memory-image, the mental-image, the relation-image - derive from these three principal categories.The movement-image reaches the end of its tenure at the time of World War II, concludes Deleuze, for five reasons. It no longer refers to a totalising or synthetic situation, but a dispersive one. Characters begin to multiply and become interchangeable. It loses its definition as either action, affection or perception when it cannot be affiliated with a genre. An art of wandering - the camera seems to move on its own - replaces the storyline, and plots become saturated with clichés. Finally, narratives are driven by a need to denounce conspiracy. Reality itself becomes 'lacunary and dispersive'. At this point, generally at the end of World War II, the time-image begins to mark cinema. Yet, as in most of Deleuze's dyads, the one term is always a function of the other that is tied to it. Movement-images tend to be the substance of narrative cinema while time-images are especially evident in experimental film. A study of genres and styles could be based on the relation of movement and time and the types of images that define their traits and qualities.Connectives§ cinema
The Deleuze Dictionary. Revised Edition. Edited by Adrian Parr . 2015.